How the mighty fall

King Richard III. Last monarch of the House of York. Last of the fabled Plantagenets. Killed verily in the undoubtedly fragrant War of the Roses. The end of the Middle Ages in merry olde Angleland. The meat upon Shakespeare’s creative platter. Found under a parking lot chopped up by a roundhouse halberd blow to the cranium and insulted by a posthumous stab to the buttocks.

There you have it, for those who dream of earthly glory. Parking lot. Of course, what is a proper cemetery if not a parking lot? But now poor Richard, you will be rehabilitated and your dignity restored! This apparently begins by having your bones neatly set out on a dark background and photographed and published with your spine pieces displayed as curved as a fossil archaeopteryx’s neck, and atop your own actual neck, TWO heads, one your busted skull and next to it your jawbone and two bone fragments arranged as, what else, a smiley face! Oh happy king! His feet are missing which is perhaps why he is remembered for trying, at the end, to trade his kingdom for a horse.

You can imagine him down there in his unmarked grave, brooding about that gratuitous stab to the buttocks for centuries on end, until the larger indignity of the parking lot arrived overhead. Much more appropriate would have been to turn his jawbone the other way to make a frowny face, shouting, “This is anything but Shakespearian, methinks!” But he would have been wrong about that. Such are the ever-unlearned lessons of history, and art, as we strut and fret away our own hour upon the stage.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.

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